If you can get a few days to visit it would help. If you do travel to visit, I would suggest booking a hotel in North Fresno near the RiverPark area, there are a lot of new hotels near the intersection of Herndon Avenue and Fresno Street to use.
I moved to the Fresno area from the California coast several decades ago for a new corporate job and thought it would be for only a few years but instead I put down roots and have stayed. Likewise my wife (who I met here) moved from coastal California for a new job decades ago and stayed. We have new neighbors who moved here 6 months ago with their children for a job transfer and are already saying they hope it will turn into a long term residency.
The area does not work for everyone but many of us who are transplants found ourselves putting down deeper roots than we planned.
I find the area fuller of contrasts and variety than many realize. You'll find some people with very conservative political attitudes but also the 6th oldest gay/lesbian film festival in the US; the largest Veterans Day parade on the west coast and activists for a variety of liberal causes; the party registration percentage between Republicans and Democrats are nearly even, the closest numbers in California rather than heavy toward one party or the other; food and cultural events exist ranging from Greek to Hmong to Hispanic to Armenian and more; concerts ranging from county to rock to jazz to opera stars like Bocelli; residents range from highly educated people to low educated; agriculture is large corporate farms to smaller organic operations; etc. However I look at the area, I see wide contrasts and variety.
One of the things I enjoyed after moving here was the proximity to Sequoia and Yosemite. I could leave work on Friday, pick up my camping gear at home and 1 hour later be starting dinner under the sequoia trees.
Lots of trails and bike lanes already in the area plus a county sales tax is now putting $1 million per year into new trails/lanes in Fresno and Clovis. Here is a map of the existing bike trail/lane network inside Fresno/Clovis.
Some big cycling events for both locals and visitors include the Blossom Trail Bike Ride in spring; The California Classic (a busy freeway is closed to cars so cyclists can ride on it); and The Climb to Kaiser (one of the toughest in the US).
The Fresno Cycling Club has group rides nearly every day. Check their calendar at:
Not sure what types of water sports you enjoy but there are many rivers and lakes in the area that provide a variety of experiences.
Weather is overall good compared to many areas. Expect about 35 days of over 100 degrees in summer (but only about 20-25% humidity levels in the afternoon). About 12 inches of rain per year (nearly all in winter) with one day of light snow every 5 years or so. Winter is cool but not cold, only 10 to 20 nights/year do the temps drop below 32 degrees.
Overall crime (property and violent crime combined) in Fresno is lower than in cities like Atlanta, Sacramento and others. Neighboring Clovis is very safe, similiar crime rate to Santa Rosa (or for reference lower than Sandy Springs in GA). Crime in some Fresno neighborhoods is high (particularly in older southeast and southwest areas of the city) but again that also shows the contrasts I mentioned.
Without a visit I'd probably suggest looking for a residence in north Fresno or Clovis (roughly north of Shaw or Ashlan for both). There are also nice older homes in other safe areas south of Shaw like Fig Garden or the Tower District but too hard to list specific boundaries here. I would suggest you consider using street level views on Google or Bing to check specific neighborhoods also, that allows seeing the conditions of houses, cars, etc.